NYC pastor was sexting with teenage boy, FBI says

WHITE PLAINS, New York (WABC) -- A Queens pastor is under arrest and facing a charge of receiving and distributing child pornography.

Francis Hughes, 65, was arrested Wednesday and is accused of receiving images from a 15-year-old boy in Westchester and engaging in sexually explicit text communications.

During the inappropriate text exchanges, prosecutors say Hughes told the minor that he was a part-time college professor and a counselor.

Hughes is facing a charge of receipt and distribution of child pornography.

ALSO READ | Arrest made after Ex-college football player shot in front of NYC deli

"We expect adults, especially those in positions of trust like Francis Hughes, to protect our children, not victimize them," said FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. "Sadly, these allegations demonstrate there are still predators out there who abuse this trust. If you or anyone you know may have been a victim of Rev. Hughes, we are asking you contact us at 1-800-CALL-FBI. If you are a parent or guardian, please take a moment to have a discussion with your children about protecting themselves and about how they can report the type of predatory behavior that is alleged here today."

The Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said, "The allegations against Francis Hughes are chilling and frightening to any parent."

The Diocese of Brooklyn said that Hughes has been removed from his post.

Former students of the church's middle school say there was always something odd about him.

"He always used to be like a little over-friendly, and he used to be a little touchy sometimes," a former student said. "That's why I always thought there was something off about him."

Officials want there could be more victims. Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI.

Hughes faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

* More Northern Suburbs news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Copyright © 2021 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.